10 May – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced that Laurent Chavet pleaded guilty today to reckless causing damage to the computer system of the Internet search engine Alta Vista in June 2002.
In pleading guilty, Mr. Chavet, 30, of Kirkland, Washington, admitted to using the username and password of an Alta Vista employee to gain unauthorized access to Alta Vista’s computer network from his home computer in San Mateo, California. Chavet admitted that he had obtained that employee’s username and password without the employee’s knowledge and used it on or about June 1, 2002, without Alta Vista’s authorization. Chavet further admitted, that during that period of access, his actions on Alta Vista’s computer system recklessly caused data files on the Alta Vista computers to be deleted.
Mr. Chavet was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 2, 2004. He was charged with one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(4) and one count of reckless damage to a protected computer in violation 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5). Under the plea agreement, Mr. Chavet pleaded guilty to the count charging him with reckless damage to a protected computer.
The sentencing of Mr. Chavet is scheduled for August 19, 2005, before Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco. The maximum statutory penalty for the count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5) is 5 years and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. §3553.
The prosecution is being overseen by the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office and is the result of an investigation by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Kyle F. Waldinger is the Assistant U.S. Attorney in the CHIP Unit who is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release and related court filings may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can. Related court documents and information may be found on the U.S. District Court website at www.cand.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.cand.uscourts/gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Christopher P. Sonderby, Chief of the CHIP Unit, at (408) 535-5037, or Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at Luke.Macaulay3@usdoj.gov.